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Semester 1

Reading Arab Feminist Texts: Key Debates on Women's Rights in the Arab World (IMES10093)


Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies





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Visiting students should have at least 3 courses in a related subject area at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Visiting students must be proficient in Arabic and should contact the Course Organiser prior to enrolling in this course to check the level of their linguistic abilities.

Course Summary

This course provides a survey of key Arab feminist texts produced by writers, thinkers, and activists during the 20th and 21st centuries. As this is a language-based course, these texts will be read in the original Arabic alongside secondary sources that illuminate the central debates these texts engage with.

Course Description

This is a language-based discursive course designed to enable students to examine key Arab feminist texts and to consider these within broader social, cultural, and political contexts. It aims to historicise and explore the development of central debates on women's rights in the Arab world, including such issues as women's education, access to the public sphere, sexuality, the veil, and secular/religious feminisms. A selection of key texts by writers, thinkers, and activists from across the Arab world (such as Nawal El-Saadawi, Fatima Mernissi, and others) will be read and translated from the Arabic by students throughout the semester. These texts may be autobiographical, creative, documentary, or theoretical in nature. Alongside this translation exercise, students will read relevant secondary texts that both contextualise and illustrate the arguments of the primary texts. Some of the primary texts will also be available in English. The course draws on and develops students' linguistic abilities while simultaneously introducing important milestones and tensions in the struggle for women's rights in the Arab world.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 60%, Coursework 40%, Practical Exam 0%

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